US 7060190 B2
A cartridge holder and a floating dispenser system for dispensing materials into a fluid with the floating dispenser system including a cartridge holder with receptacles for removably attaching or detaching at least two cartridge dispensers therein to allow one to simultaneously dispense materials into a fluid system by placing the floating dispensing system in a body of fluids and to replenish the system by merely removing and replacing a cartridge in the holder.
1. A floating dispensing system comprising:
a cartridge holder, said cartridge holder having a top side and a bottom side, said top side normally located above a water line and said bottom side normally located below the water line;
a first buoyant cartridge, said cartridge containing a first water treatment material, said first buoyant cartridge temporarily securable to the bottom side of said cartridge holder to enable dispensing of water treatment material therefrom;
a second buoyant cartridge, said second cartridge containing a second water treatment material, said second buoyant cartridge securable to the bottom side of said cartridge holder to enable dispensing of water treatment material therefrom to enable either or both of said cartridges to dispense water treatment material therefrom as the cartridge holder floats in a body of water.
2. The floating dispensing system of
3. The floating dispensing system of
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5. The floating dispensing system of
6. The floating dispensing system of
7. The floating dispensing system of
8. The floating dispensing system of
9. The floating dispensing system of
10. The floating dispensing system of
11. The floating dispensing system of
12. The method of treating water in a spa, pool or hot tub comprising:
attaching a first cartridge dispenser, having a first water treatment material therein to a holder;
attaching a second cartridge dispenser having a second water treatment material therein to the holder;
placing the holder in a body of water in a spa, pool or hot tub wherein the holder and cartridge dispensers contain sufficient buoyancy so that the holder floats at least partially above a water line and each of the cartridge dispensers extend below the water line.
13. The method of
14. The method of
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19. A floating dispensing system comprising:
a first cartridge secured to said holder, said first cartridge containing a first dispersant therein;
a second cartridge secured to said holder, said second cartridge containing a second dispersant therein so that said first and second cartridge can dispense the dispersant therefrom as the holder and cartridges float in a liquid.
20. The floating dispensing system of
21. The floating dispensing system of
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This application claims benefit of provisional patent application 60/450,095 filed Feb. 27, 2003 titled Floating Dispensing System.
This invention relates generally to fluid dispensing systems and, more specifically, to a dispensing system for a body of fluid which is maintained at least partially above the fluid line and at least partially below the fluid line to permit dispensing of material into the body of fluid.
The concept of a single floating dispenser for use in dispensing materials is known in the art. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,702,270 discloses a floating dispenser having materials therein for treatment of water. The present invention provides a floating dispensing system including a separable holder that when secured to at least two cartridge dispensers floats with a portion above the fluid line and a further portion including the dispenser cartridges below the fluid line to permit the simultaneous dispensing of two or more materials into the body of fluid. The present invention allows one to quickly change one or both of the cartridge dispensers and maintain each of the cartridge dispensers in one location in the body of fluid.
A floating dispenser system for dispensing materials into a fluid with the floating dispenser system including a holder with receptacles for removably attaching or detaching at least two cartridge dispensers therein to allow one to dispense materials into a fluid system by placing the floating dispensing system in a body of fluids and to replenish the system by merely removing and replacing a cartridge in the holder. If desired a color coded system permits quick visually identification of the contents of the dispenser cartridges.
In the preferred embodiment, when used in water treatment, the floating dispenser system 10 can hold two different dispensing materials. To aid the user in identifying the cartridges containing the different dispensing materials, when the cartridge dispensers have the identical shape and size one can color code the cartridge dispensers, for example, one cartridge could be a blue mineral cartridge 12, which yields ions, and the second cartridge could be a yellow bromine cartridge 13 which yields bromine. The color coding permits a user to quickly identify the contents of the cartridge and the purpose of the cartridge. dispenser. To replace a spent cartridge the user merely removes the spent dispenser cartridge out of the holder and secures a fresh cartridge into position.
Located in cylindrical recess 20 is an annular stop 21 for engaging the top of a dispenser cartridge, which can be centrally located in recess 20. Shown projecting radially inward in recess 20 are a set of stops 22, 23, 24 and 25. In the embodiment shown stop 22 is a fixed stop that projects radially inward to engage and support one side of a cartridge dispenser. In contrast, the stops 23, 24, 25, which are located diametrically opposite to support the opposite side of a dispenser cartridge, are retractable stops that move radially inward to permit engagement with a cartridge dispenser and radially outward to permit disengagement with a dispenser cartridge.
In order to illustrate the interactive component parts of the cartridge dispenser for use with the holder 11 as well as the component parts that permit engagement of the cartridge dispenser with the holder 11 reference should be made to
A feature of the present invention is that afloat is included that not only provides sufficient buoyancy to maintain the cartridge dispenser and the contents in a buoyant condition but provides a cover for the dispenser container 40 to retain the contents in dispenser container 40. The float 50 comprises a two-part float that can be assembled without the need for welding, adhesives or the like. The dispenser container 40 is shown in an exploded view in
A leak-proof mechanical locking engagement between the float cover 51 and the float base 52 permits one to form a float without the aid of adhesives, welding or the like. When float cover 51 is assembled to the float base 52, one forms a float that can buoyantly support the dispersant container 40 and the contents therein. Float base 52 and float cover 51 are preferably made of a polymer plastic with the side walls of sufficient thickness to withstand fluid pressure thereon without collapsing and sufficiently thin so as to flex to enable one to slide the protrusion 58 and 58 a on cover 51 into interlocking engagement with the mating elongated slots on dispersant container 40.
Thus the present invention includes the method of making a float for a cartridge dispenser buy forming a float base 52 with a top lip 55 and a float cover 52 with inter-engaging lips 60 and 61 and then snapping the top lip 55 of the base into engagement,with the inter-engaging lips 60 and 61 of the float cover 52 to form a leak-proof junction therebetween which allows one to form a float without the use of welding, gluing or other material joining methods. Once the float 50 is assembled one can insert the float onto the dispensing container 40 and the float becomes a cover to dispenser container 40 to retain the contents of the dispenser container therein. That is, one can place the dispersant material in container 40 and then insert and lock the float 50 on the top of container 40 to retain the dispersant material in container 40. That is, the float 50 forms a lockable cover for the dispersant container 40 through the engagement of protrusions 58 and 58 a with the elongated transverse slots in dispersant container 40. After the dispenser container 40 is capped one can nest the dispersant container 40 with the float 50 in the dispersant rate selector 45 and slip the transvere protrusion 43 on dispersant container 40 into the transverse elongated slot 48 on one side of dispenser selector 45 and an identical transverse protrusion located on the opposite side of container 40 and an identical transverse elongated slot located on the other side dispersant rate selector 45.
The dispersant rate selector member 45 is shown rotationally retained on dispersant container 40 by the inter-engagement of radial protrusion 43 into elongated slot 48. Similarly, a radial protrusion and elongated slot is located on the other side of dispenser cartridge 12 to permit the partial rotational displacement of dispersant rate selector 45 with respect to dispersant container 40. That is the length of the protrusion 43 in relation to the length of the slot 48 is such that one can partially rotate the rate selector 45 with respect to container 40 to bring more or less of the set of openings in container 40 into alignment with each other.
In the present invention the dispenser container 40 and in rate selector 45 have top portions that coact with each other to provide an annular recessed band 61. That is, member 41 has a first annular lip 62 on the lower side and selector 45 has a top annular lip 63. The annular recess formed between lip 62 on and lip 63 provides a space for positioning the stops 22, 23, 24 and 25, which are shown in
The stops 23, 24 and 25, which are mounted on a resilient cantilevered member are integrally formed from the material of holder 11 to provide for quick engagement and disengagement with the lips 62 and 63 thereby providing a latch to secure the holder 11 to the cartridge dispensers. This allows one to snap the dispenser cartridge 12 into holder 11 by merely forcing the cartridge 12 axially upward in the recess in the holder until the resilient members 26, 27 and 28 flex radially outward to allow stops 23, 24 and 25 and stop 22 on the opposite side to slip therepast until the stops can engage the lip 62. Once the stops are in the recesses of the band 61 the resilient members 26, 27 and 28 bend inward to bring the stops 23, 24 and 25 into position so that lips 62 and 63 prevent axial displacement. The use of resilient members 26, 27 and 28, which bend inward in response to an external force allows one to axially force the dispenser cartridge 12 into engagement with holder 11 through hand pressure alone or remove dispersant cartridge 12 from engagement with holder 11 by hand pressure alone by axially pulling on dispersant cartridge 12 with respect to holder 10. On the other hand, since an external force is required to remove the dispersant cartridge 12 from the holder 10, the dispersant cartridge 12 remains in holder 10 until such time as a user wishes to remove and replace the dispenser cartridge 12. This ensures that the holder 11 can maintain the cartridge 12 in position on the holder while the dispersant therein is made available to-the surrounding fluid.
While the floating dispenser system 10 has been shown with two dispenser cartridges it is envisioned that in certain instance additional cartridge dispensers can be used in the floating dispensing system, for example one may want to introduce another dispensing material or one may wish to merely have additional dispensing material available.